GPU Boost 2.0: Temperature Based Boosting

With the Kepler family NVIDIA introduced their GPU Boost functionality. Present on the desktop GTX 660 and above, boost allows NVIDIA’s GPUs to turbo up to frequencies above their base clock so long as there is sufficient power headroom to operate at those higher clockspeeds and the voltages they require. Boost, like turbo and other implementations, is essentially a form of performance min-maxing, allowing GPUs to offer higher clockspeeds for lighter workloads while still staying within their absolute TDP limits.

With the first iteration of GPU Boost, GPU Boost was based almost entirely around power considerations. With the exception of an automatic 1 bin (13MHz) step down in high temperatures to compensate for increased power consumption, whether GPU Boost could boost and by how much depended on how much power headroom was available. So long as there was headroom, GPU Boost could boost up to its maximum boost bin and voltage.

For Titan, GPU Boost has undergone a small but important change that has significant ramifications to how GPU Boost works, and how much it boosts by. And that change is that with GPU Boost 2, NVIDIA has essentially moved on from a power-based boost system to a temperature-based boost system. Or perhaps more precisely, a system that is predominantly temperature based but is also capable of taking power into account.

When it came to GPU Boost 1, its greatest weakness as explained by NVIDIA is that it essentially made conservative assumptions about temperatures and the interplay between high temperatures and high voltages in order keep from seriously impacting silicon longevity. The end result being that NVIDIA was picking boost bin voltages based on the worst case temperatures, which meant those conservative assumptions about temperatures translated into conservative voltages.

So how does a temperature based system fix this? By better mapping the relationship between voltage, temperature, and reliability, NVIDIA can allow for higher voltages – and hence higher clockspeeds – by being able to finely control which boost bin is hit based on temperature. As temperatures start ramping up, NVIDIA can ramp down the boost bins until an equilibrium is reached.

Of course total power consumption is still a technical concern here, though much less so. Technically NVIDIA is watching both the temperature and the power consumption and clamping down when either is hit. But since GPU Boost 2 does away with the concept of separate power targets – sticking solely with the TDP instead – in the design of Titan there’s quite a bit more room for boosting thanks to the fact that it can keep on boosting right up until the point it hits the 250W TDP limit. Our Titan sample can boost its clockspeed by up to 19% (837MHz to 992MHz), whereas our GTX 680 sample could only boost by 10% (1006MHz to 1110MHz).

Ultimately however whether GPU Boost 2 is power sensitive is actually a control panel setting, meaning that power sensitivity can be disabled. By default GPU Boost will monitor both temperature and power, but 3rd party overclocking utilities such as EVGA Precision X can prioritize temperature over power, at which point GPU Boost 2 can actually ignore TDP to a certain extent to focus on power. So if nothing else there’s quite a bit more flexibility with GPU Boost 2 than there was with GPU Boost 1.

Unfortunately because GPU Boost 2 is only implemented in Titan it’s hard to evaluate just how much “better” this is in any quantities sense. We will be able to present specific Titan numbers on Thursday, but other than saying that our Titan maxed out at 992MHz at its highest boost bin of 1.162v, we can’t directly compare it to how the GTX 680 handled things.

Titan For Compute GPU Boost 2.0: Overclocking & Overclocking Your Monitor


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  • WiNV - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    And the AMD fagbots has gone mad. lol Reply
  • Asmodian - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Wow! how did politics come into it? Just because it is here:

    "Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933), the 30th U.S. president, led the nation through most of the Roaring Twenties, a decade of dynamic social and cultural change, materialism and excess."

    Interesting how we went into a depression right after Coolidge, it somehow reminds me of 2001-2009.

    Hoover was Coolidge's Secretary of Commerce and "he promoted partnerships between government and business under the rubric 'economic modernization'. In the presidential election of 1928, Hoover easily won the Republican nomination."
  • Asmodian - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Oh, and I am quite happy to buy a very nice $1000 video card. I plan to buy a Titan as soon as I can. Reply
  • WiNV - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Ne too, single monster graphics card far better than dual gpuz and crossfire and sli crap.
    Cant wait to get my hands on that puppy.
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, February 24, 2013 - link


    Nothing wrong with that everything right with it instead.

    Can't count the thousands of dollars of computer equipment here, not sure where all the crybaby extreme poverty whiners come from.

    It's quiet, low heat, low electric usage, sipping idle power, and ready for awesome gaming - with low PS needed - and it's the best card there is.

    Awesome fps and the massive extra nVidia only features, with no more whining about tesselation losing as it's the king there.

    Feels well made in the hand, top end stuff.
  • Spunjji - Thursday, February 21, 2013 - link

    LOL no, what are these you bring to the discussion, facts?!? GODDAMMIT OBAMA

  • CeriseCogburn - Saturday, February 23, 2013 - link

    Perhaps he was saying he knows why you poorfags cannot afford a video card and constantly whine it should be given to you extra cheap at a loss, at the price you demand and not a dime more.
    Take heart he was blaming the Commie Usurper not you crybaby whiners, who clearly, I blame 100%.

    At least he was nice enough to provide a scapegoat to blame the crybaby whiners poorboy problems on.
  • Gastec - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - link

    You shameless bastard! Daring to call us poor when there's a crysis (3) out there! Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Monday, March 4, 2013 - link

    Never let a good 3 crying sighs go to waste! Reply
  • connor4312 - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    You, sir, and incredible. Seriously, it's like ten different trolls and fanboys in one person. How you got from fanboying on nVidia to Calvin Coolridge's politics to beat on Obama for playing golf to moaning about welfare on an article about video cards I may never know (it's certianly not worth my time to read your whole solilioquy), but that is definitely one of the most impressive specimin trolling/spamming I've ever seen. Kudos to you. Reply

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